Indian boxing star Nikhat Zareen has successfully defended her World title by beating Nguyen Thi Tam of Vietnam 5-0 in the final of the 2023 World Championships in New Delhi on Sunday.
She's now only the second Indian female boxer to win two World Championship golds, after MC Mary Kom.
'Today’s bout was my toughest in the entire tournament and since this was the last match of the tournament I wanted to utilise my energy completely and leave everything in the ring,' Nikhat said after the win.
'It was a rollercoaster of a bout with both of us getting warnings as well as eight counts and it was very close. My strategy in the last round was to go all out and attack and I felt very happy when my hand was lifted as the winner. This medal is for India and for everyone who have supported us throughout the tournament,” she added.
Nikhat started her bout against the two-time Asian champion and 2018 Asian Games bronze medallist in an attacking mode. She didn't let Thi Tam settle and landed a rally of punches to win the first round 5-0.
The second round also went in favour of the Indian.
Third round was a tough one, as Thi Tam gave her all but she was given a count when Nikhay punched her on her face. Thi Tam, too, managed to land one punch on Nikhat which stunned the entire stadoum.
The referee gave a count to Nikhat. The match continued and the Indian proved a little ahead in the round and was declared winner.
Despite shifting to light flyweight from flyweight for this year's tournament, the 26-year-old pugilist from Telangana adjusted extremely well to her new weight category and performed at the highest of levels throughout the tournament.
She notably toppled the top seed and the reigning African champ Roumaysa Boualam of Algeria, two-time World Championships bronze medallist Chuthamat Raksat of Thailand and the Rio Olympics bronze medallist Ingrit Valencia of Colombia.
Following Nikhat's triumph, India now have a total of three golds in their kitty at the tournament after the 2022 Commonwealth Games medallist Nitu Ghanghas (48kg) and three-time Asian medallist Saweety Boora (81kg) also won gold for the hosts on Saturday.
Later in the day, the Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain will look to add a fourth gold medal to India's tally when she takes to the ring to face the two-time Commonwealth Games medallist Caitlin Parker of Australia in her finals bout.
In the 54kg category, Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Huang Hsiao-Wen of Chinese Taipei defeated Arias Castaneda Yeni Marcela of Colombia with a 5-0 scoreline and secured her second World Championships gold.
(With inputs from IANS)
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